Glasgow’s Shalika Smith signs with WKU; class expected to include four prospects

Glasgow senior center Shalika Smith signs with the Western Kentucky women's basketball program this morning at GHS. (Zach Greenwell/Daily News)

Glasgow senior center Shalika Smith signs with the Western Kentucky women’s basketball program this morning at GHS. (Zach Greenwell/Daily News)

GLASGOW — Glasgow senior center Shalika Smith officially signed with the Western Kentucky women’s basketball team Wednesday, making her the first Lady Scottie to play Division I hoops since the 1970s, according to the school.

Smith is one of four commits expected to sign with WKU in the November early signing period, which began today. Jaiveonna Norris, a 6-foot forward from Flossmoor, Ill., told the Daily News on Tuesday she was going to fax in her letter of intent at 7:15 a.m. this morning. Tashia Brown, a 6-1 forward from Valdosta, Ga., told the Daily News she also faxed in her letter of intent today.

The other recruit in WKU’s 2014 class is LaRue County senior guard Ivy Brown. Brown is having a signing ceremony at 2:45 p.m. EST Thursday but could sign her official papers today. We’re meeting with WKU coach Michelle Clark-Heard later this afternoon to preview Saturday’s Murray State game, and Heard will likely talk about the signees during that availability if all the letters of intent have been received.

You can find more about Smith and the other signees here.

Here are some comments from Smith and her coach at Glasgow, Justin Stinson:

SHALIKA SMITH, Glasgow senior center

How does it feel to have your decision finished? “It’s just an amazing honor to get to play with Western. I couldn’t do it without my team and my family and friends.”

What did you like most about WKU? “I just loved the bond. Coach Heard is an amazing coach. I just had that special bond with her.”

What do you think about Heard recruiting local players? “She’s done a good job. She’s got two, strong kids coming up to play with me and Ivy Brown. Ivy can play, and it’s going to be really fun next year.”

Did WKU talk about their need for help in the post? “She said she needs strong posts, and she likes the way I’m not afraid of contact and finish strong around the basket.”

JUSTIN STINSON, Glasgow coach

Smith starting under the radar: “She was under the radar. She’s a kid that developed slower because she didn’t play 1,000 AAU games as a fifth- and sixth-grader. She didn’t start playing basketball until she was in seventh grade, and through hard work and perseverance, she’s really worked on her game. I think what coach Heard liked about her is that she just constantly played hard.”

WKU recruiting local players: “I think that’s huge for Western’s program. Certainly, the priority for them is to get players they can win with, but there’s a lot of players within a 60-mile radius of Bowling Green right now that can win at a very, very high level. I think their staff has put a priority on recruiting those kids, and I think that’ll pay dividends for them.”

How Smith fits with Lady Tops: “I think she fits perfect. She’s an athletic post that can get up and down the court and doesn’t mind to be physical – actually loves to be physical. She’s going to work hard and practice hard, and she’ll add to the depth they’ve already got.”

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